Written by Mat Casner

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Ep. 5. Planning for the Future By Taking a Look Into the Past


The Freelance CEO Podcast with Mat Casner
The Freelance CEO Podcast with Mat Casner
Ep. 5. Planning for the Future By Taking a Look Into the Past


What do we do when we’re planning for the future? You know, there are a lot of things that we can do. We can set goals, we can create strategies and plans, and that is all good. But I wanna share with you three benefits of kind of taking a look back. I get it that, you know, it’s not necessarily good to dwell in the past, but I’m gonna share with you three things that we can do, that we can use our our past to help leverage and give us a strong foothold and maybe even a step up for the future. Before that, I wanna tell you a story, and this goes way back and, and one of the things that, you know, looking back in the rear view mirror can do is it can actually show us where there are some really, really bright spots in places where we can really use for good learning.

Speaking of that, I, I was in college, I was working a, a job on campus, and I actually happened to have another job at the same time working off campus for an education company. It was a really cool, kind of a technology related education company. And I happened to work in their marketing department. Well, one night I happened to be with a friend, a fellow coworker, and we actually happened to stop by the house of the president and ceo. Now, this isn’t a person that I actually got to hang around with much, but it was pretty cool to actually be in his house probably the first time I’d actually been in the house of a millionaire. So it was very captivating for me as a college student walking into the CEO’s house. We were only there for a few minutes, but the interaction that I had has stuck with me to this day. I remember sitting on his couch with my friend and the c e o and his wife.

We were there for other business, but there, a little side conversation happened between me and the c e o and it was a very brief conversation, but the CEO basically asked me a few questions, asked me my name, asked me what I did for the company. So I, I told him, he, we, we just, you know, had a little discussion there for a, a brief minute or two. And then after a little pause, he turned and he looked at me and he said, “Mat, I want to give you a little piece of advice.” He said, “Never quit learning.” Now, this is coming from a gentleman who has accomplished a great deal, had a PhD, was very learned, very wise, had accomplished a lot of things.

And for me to hear these words coming out of his mouth, keep learning, I took them to heart. In fact, I took them and kept them very close to my heart. And to this day, I can still hear his voice in my head saying, “Mat, keep learning.” And I, as I look back on that one particular moment, and there’s lots of moments that I have that I can look back that I value highly, but to be able to say that that moment in time has carried forward with me 20 years later is very remarkable. And so today, I think this just punctuates why riot’s important for us to be able to look back and look at the things that we’ve done and accomplished.

Look at the down the downsides, look at the upsets and the, and the setbacks, and be able to learn from them and allow those to become a part of who we are as individuals and who we are as Freelance business people. So number one, I, I, I just wanna share this is one of the reasons why we want to look back is to learn from past mistakes.

Again, I said this, we don’t want to dwell on the past, but, but here’s the deal. We all make mistakes, and I’ve made my fair share of ’em. In fact, I’ve made some, probably more than I should have. The bad thing is, is when we don’t learn from those mistakes as the quote goes, if we don’t learn from the past, we’re doomed to repeat it. So one of the things that we can do is we can really take advantage of those lessons and those mistakes that we’ve made in the past and apply those as wisdom for the future. So just like the comment that I, the the instruction that I got to keep learning from the c e o, these past mistakes continue to teach us.

They continue to show us what we should do and what we shouldn’t do. There is a side benefit to learning from past mistakes. Not only do they benefit us, but they can help others. And just like a parent who would tell a child not to touch a hot stove, the mistakes that we’ve made, we can use to help others and keep them from having to make the same mistakes themselves.

Okay? So one of the benefits that we have by looking back is that we have these mistakes that we’ve made, which are unfortunate, but they can help us keep from making mistakes in the future. So number two, we need to be encouraged by our past victories. Let’s just be honest. If, if you’re a freelancer, you know that sometimes it can be a struggle. And when you’re by yourself and you’re freelancing, sometimes you can get into these, these conversations with the voices in your head, and sometimes those voices in your head aren’t the most positive.

In fact, we, we sometimes will call it imposter syndrome, where we have these negative self-defeating thoughts that creep into our head that cause us to not be confident, that cause us not to want to take positive action for fear of not doing it right, or whatever the case may be. These voices are, are sometimes in our head, and sometimes they can be pretty loud. One of the things that I like to do to squash the voices down and to encourage myself is on a piece of paper I will write down and I will just start writing down a list of the past projects that I’ve completed that I’m proud of.

Okay? And I will start to make a list of the people that I have been able to serve or help in the past. And I just let my pen just start writing as, as ideas come to mind, I just start writing them down. I also will write down the, the things that I’ve accomplished, those things in my life that I’m very proud of, that I worked hard for. I will write those down, okay? And, and I’ll, and I’ll give myself a moment to kind of let those things come to mind. And then once I have that list, then that list can be an affirmation for me. It can be an affirmation that these voices in my head that are telling me that I can’t do it, that I’m not good enough, that I don’t know how I can look back at this list and I can say, yeah, I do. I have proven here and here and here and here that I do have what it takes, and that I was able to make a difference and that I was able to help. So we can use these, these things in our past to help us be encouraged.

I would encourage you if you are, are struggling with just with positivity, take a moment and just in a journal or in a piece of paper or in a, in a document, start to make a list of all of the great things that you have been a part of accomplished and things that you have worked hard for in the past. And let those be affirmations for you moving forward.

The third thing that I wanna say as a benefit to looking back is as we get older, we can look back and we can start to see this story that’s unfolding our timeline, where we start up to where we are. Now, if you’re older like me, you’ve got a lot of time in that timeline. And one of the things that has been very cool for me is to be able to look back over the years and see significant milestones, see significant places in my life that have high, had high impact or high value for me. Now, that doesn’t necessarily always mean good things, okay? There could be trials, there could be surprises, there could be setbacks, there could be victories, there could be defeats that are in this timeline. But see, the idea is that the timeline should show us some perspective.

It should allow us to appreciate where we’ve been and help us to have hope for where we’re going. And as we take a moment to kind of take inventory of our timeline, we’ll see things in there that maybe we didn’t realize. Maybe we’ll see some grit and tenacity that we had, forgot that we had, or maybe we’ll see a, an accomplishment or a season in our life that was amazing, but we really didn’t give credit to it. So we want to take advantage of our timeline because there’s a story to tell in that. Okay? And just like I mentioned earlier, when we learn from our past mistakes, those mistakes that, that we learn from, we can use to help others. And guys,

I just wanna share this, that the story that’s being written in your life is so very important. And even though it may not be perfect, even though it may be filled with challenge, may be filled with trial, use that as your story. No one else has your story. But let me encourage you with this today, we have an opportunity to write the next page in that story.

And I want to encourage you to take what you’ve learned in the past, the good, the bad, the wisdom. And I want you to apply it to right here and right now. And I want today to be a day where you feel like you’ve got what you need to move forward. Let the past confirm it, learn from the mistakes, and write this story that you want to tell to someone else.

Now remember, look back to get ahead. We learned from our mistakes, want to be encouraged by our past victories, and we want to see the story that has unfolded and be excited for the story that we’re writing.

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